The 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup rolls into the semifinals on Thursday, as hosts and six-time winners USA take on Qatar.
The 2022 World Cup hosts, Qatar, are participating in the Gold Cup as an outside invitee, after playing in the 2019 Copa America, as their soccer federation works to improve the program ahead of next winter's tournament.
Will the USMNT end Qatar's foray into CONCACAF? Check out our tips and predictions for Qatar vs. USA on July 29.
Qatar vs USA game info
• Location: Q2 Stadium, Austin, TX
• Date: Thursday, July 29, 2021
• Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
• TV: FS1
Qatar vs USA betting tips
- Qatar (+310)
- Over 2.5 (-108)
Read on for complete analysis
Qatar vs USA match odds
Over 2.5: -108
Under 2.5: -130
Qatar vs USA betting preview
The USA and Qatar will have great conditions on Thursday evening, with temperatures expected around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity around 45 percent.
Qatar: No injuries to report.
USA: Walker Zimmerman (Out).
Qatar vs USA predictions
The USMNT continued what has been a nervy tournament in their quarterfinal against Jamaica. After escaping their final group stage game against Canada with a win after they were outplayed, taking the top spot in the group and avoiding a potential semifinal date with hated rivals Mexico in the process, they began poorly against the Reggae Boyz. Jamaica nearly went ahead within the first couple minutes of the match, and then could have buried a pair of chances just before halftime.
A better second half followed from the U.S., but it was nearly soiled by a Jamaica chance that was inches away from the back of the net. Though the USMNT would find a winner on a break shortly thereafter, they reach the final four yet to convince of their quality. There, they will meet an opponent hellbent on proving their own quality.
With the exception of their doomed Copa America in 2019, Qatar have been, already, playing with the swagger of tournament hosts for several years. They rolled through the group stage of the 2019 Asian Cup with a flawless record accented by 10 goals scored and zero conceded. They continued their perfect record in the knockout stages with wins of 1-0, 1-0, and 4-0 before knocking off Japan 3-1 in the final.
A team undergoing the most intense preparation possible ahead of next winter's World Cup, the intentionality Qatar played with through the Asian Cup has continued, as they are now 12 games unbeaten, with 10 wins during that span. They are a superbly cohesive team, organized at the back and fierce going forward. Their ability to play in transition, and the familiarity within the squad, will be even more important assets against the experimental team the U.S. brought to the Gold Cup.
Two years after reaching the final of the Asian Cup, Qatar will head to the final of a different region's tournament.
PICK: Qatar (+310)
While Qatar have been among the most impressive teams at the Gold Cup, they have proven to be susceptible at the back when tested against other strong sides. In their opener, against Panama, they allowed three goals in just under 30 minutes to give away leads of 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 in what finished as a 3-3 draw. Then, in their quarterfinal against El Salvador, they allowed two goals within 200 seconds of play to nearly let a 3-0 lead slip away.
The USMNT, meanwhile, have allowed just a single goal at the Gold Cup. That came due to an error in what was their best performance, a 6-1 thrashing of Martinique. Wins over Haiti, Canada, and Jamaica, meanwhile, were unconvincing showings, and they were lucky not to concede against Canada and Jamaica in particular.
This semifinal may be the more unpredictable of the two, but a fair number of goals seems likely ahead of a fun matchup.
PICK: Over 2.5 (-108)